Why our future prosperity demands smart borders

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There have been some rather hysterical headlines in the UK recently about immigration. Eyebrow-raising statements alluding to the Home Office (the government department responsible for immigration) losing thousands of asylum seekers illustrate that efforts to trace them are placing huge pressure on resources.

This, and the more outward looking post-Brexit era we're facing, are just two reasons why I believe a different approach to immigration, and indeed many of the activities of the Home Office, would transform efficiency. With the following capabilities in place, we’ll create a future where the department can rate and prioritise risks in real-time, as they change, and take pre-emptive action, rather than reactive. As an example, let's apply this to the risk of asylum seekers going missing.

The answer’s in the data

One of the major improvements the Home Office can make is to apply advanced, predictive analytics to these situations and deploy risk-scoring models. Building them on historical data allows strategists and front line operatives to apply the models’ learnings about things like ‘who is likely to go missing’, ‘why’ and ‘what the remedial action will cost’ and apply them to current data sets.

Support that capability with ‘what if’ scenario testing, and the Home Office – and indeed other central government organisations – will be able to model different decisions and predict their outcomes against their cost and relative merit.

Consider this in the context of UK borders. This citizen-facing department will be able to score inbound and outbound travellers for risk across a number of criteria, allowing them to divert resources for rigorous checks on those cargos and people with a higher risk score.

A winning combination: efficiency, accuracy, affordability

However, with many millions of people and shipments moving in and out of the UK every year, some people will wonder how quickly all this analysis can happen. The answer: In a matter of minutes. Certainly with SAS. That’s because our analytics engine is made for the big data age and can screen billions of rows of data per second.

If your next questions is ‘can the analysis be thorough at speed?’ the answer is a resounding yes. Take global banking giant HSBC as an example. You’ll see that SAS anti-fraud analytics screens millions of debit and credit card transactions around the world, every day. Consider the fallout you may have experienced from just one personal experience of card fraud, and you’ll know what an incredibly value-generating capability this is - both on a human level and a financial one.

For the Home Office to speed up and improve the accuracy of its decision-making, it’s definitely time to use advanced analytics. And hopefully headlines like “Home Office loses track of more than 10,000 asylum seekers” can swiftly be consigned to history.

Learn more about how advanced analytics helps pinpoint immediate threats or mitigate future risk.

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About Author

Peter Snelling

Principal Systems Engineer

Peter Snelling is Principal Technical Account Manager at SAS Public Security. Based in the UK, Peter's responsibilities include raising the awareness of SAS software within the policing and intelligence community.

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